PR case study: The PHA Group establishes RED Driving School as brand of choice during lockdown

by | Sep 30, 2020

RED Driving School needed to steer thousands of franchisees and learner drivers through uncertain times, and emerge from lockdown as a driving brand of choice. When the UK went into lockdown, RED Driving School was one of many franchise organisations in the UK with an internal and external communication challenge on its hands. While RED’s competitors shrunk from the limelight, The PHA Group adapted its press office to proactively establish RED and its CEO as a reassuring presence in the media and gain a competitive edge when the UK re-opened.

The strategy focused on keeping inactive learners engaged with practical advice, turning franchisees into ambassadors, supporting key workers and being a clear and bold public voice for the driving industry as a whole.

The PHA Group mobilised RED Driving School’s CEO Ian McIntosh, developing bold calls to action for national media; he called on the government to extend financial support to self-employed workers, and later as lockdown eased, he urged the DVSA to provide clear timelines and advice on safety measures. Coverage was so impactful that Ian received a personal thank you from Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s team.

Nimble newsjacking was essential to keep RED Driving School visible in the national press and daily responses to government announcements and key dates delivered huge results – in particular, when driving lessons and tests resumed post-lockdown. To ensure RED emerged as a brand of choice for learners, PHA developed timely content strands to cut-through the coronavirus context. Practical media articles advised learners on topics such as learning to drive with your parents during lockdown; the dangers of the MOT extension; safely returning to the roads after months away from the driver’s seat; and how to stay test-ready without driving. Finally, case studies were developed and placed in lifestyle and national press to bring to life RED’s expertise in the sector: from instructors supporting key workers to the first test pass after lockdown.

Overall results included:

  • 147 pieces of coverage since lockdown
  • 206% increase compared to the same period last year
  • 8 broadcast appearances
  • 94% of coverage included a RED Driving School quote or spokesperson
  • 49.3% majority media share of voice versus competitors
  • Double the website traffic compared to the same period in 2019
  • 5-year SEO goal reached
  • 37,000 new learner enquiries
  • 11,000 customers on their waiting list

Bulldog Reporter
Bulldog Reporter is a leader in media intelligence supplying news, analysis and high-level training content to public relations and corporate communications professionals with the mission of helping these practitioners achieve superior competitive performance.


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